Kieve-Wavus joins with Coastal Rivers in solar project

Kieve-Wavus joins with Coastal Rivers in solar project

Bringing us one step closer to carbon neutrality

Coastal Rivers is working toward a goal of achieving carbon neutrality within the next 5 years. A major step toward this goal was to install energy-efficient heat pumps to heat and cool the renovated Denny Conservation & Education Center at Round Top Farm. The next step is to power those heat pumps – and the bulk of our electrical needs overall – with solar-generated energy.

We have a prime site for a solar installation at Round Top Farm in the southwest field below the large dirt parking lot by Darrows Barn. The slope aspect is ideal, and the topography limits visual impacts. We also have three-phase power to the site already, which will reduce construction costs.

sloping field behind Darrows Barn at Round Top Farm

The proposed installation will be located on the back side of the hill on the left in this photo. Darrows Barn can be seen to the right.

mockup of proposed solar array at Round Top Farm

A rough mock-up of the proposed solar array at Round Top Farm, showing the location, number of rows, approximate scale, and orientation of the panels.

As a non-profit, Coastal Rivers is not able to take advantage of tax credits for a solar installation. However, we can benefit from the credits by entering into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a third party who would own the system at least until the credits were used up (which takes 5 years). We will then have the opportunity to purchase the system if we choose to.

Alone, Coastal Rivers’ power needs are not great enough for us to enter into a PPA in which the rates would be lower than our current electrical rates. By joining with another non-profit, however, we can achieve the scale we need to immediately pay less per kilowatt-hour than we currently do.

sample solar array being installed by ReVision Energy

This solar project elsewhere in Maine, also by ReVision Energy, gives an idea of the size and appearance of the ground-mounted panels.

Kieve-Wavus has agreed to join with us in entering into a PPA, and to establish a joint buyout plan. Having them in on the project with us achieves the needed scale.

ReVision Energy is Maine-based and cooperatively owned, with a stellar reputation. They have analyzed our site and put forward a proposal. Construction is scheduled to take place in spring of 2021, and we hope to have the system operational by summer.

Solar installation images courtesy of ReVision Energy.